Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"What is COPD?"

ZocdocAnswersWhat is COPD?


I'm 27 and I am having trouble breathing on and off and my doctor uncle said it might be COPD. What is this?


COPD (an abbreviation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a degenerative condition of the lungs in which air is trapped in the tubes of the lungs, impairing breathing. The condition usually develops slowly over decades, and it is usually provoked by smoking, although other problems including a rare inherited condition, can also cause it. It would be very very unlikely for someone who is 27 years old to have COPD, unless it was due to the rare inherited form. It is much more likely that you have another condition going on. You should go see your primary care doctor as soon as possible, rather than relying on relatives to diagnose your conditions! A lung condition that would be more common in someone your age would be asthma, but there are a number of non-lung conditions that would also need to be ruled out in a young person with trouble breathing, including anemia and various heart problems. When you go to your doctor, you should tell them about any problems with exercise, any chest pain, any dizziness or passing out, any palpitations, any cough or wheeze, any weight loss, any swelling in your ankles, as well as any other symptoms that you think are concerning.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.